Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown is perhaps the only beach that can be compared to a speakeasy -- but don't go searching the sand for a hidden craft cocktail, the secrets of this beach are of a different indulgence. The beach stretches across the long arm of Provincetown's real estate against Cape Cod Bay and while the entirety of the long beach provides fantastic ocean access, it has been unofficially broken up by beach-goer demographics, with the gay male and nude sections most easily accessible via an unmarked natural obstacle course. For those with an adventurous spirit and strong feet read on for information usually only accessible by those in the down-low know.

Step 1 - Prepare

The beach is fairly secluded and given the distance necessary to travel, it's best for an all day hangout, so pack accordingly. No amenities are accessible once there, so bring standard beach supplies, food, towels, etc. If you bring drinks know that open containers of liquor are illegal on the beach. The walk covers a variety of terrain so the water shoes and Merrels that may get you ridiculed elsewhere are 100% appropriate here (though you'll also probably be fine with regular sneakers and sandals).

Step 2 - Locate

The entrance to the trail is on 6A Province Land Road, between the intersection of Bradford Street and the main parking area for the more popular side of the beach. It is unmarked, but usually has some bikes parked outside.

Step 3 - Trek

While there is no clear path you're bound to see a few others making the journey and can follow their lead. If no one is in sight, head for the horizon. The main entrance to the gay section of the beach is on the left-hand-side between two dunes. The key to it all is the tide. When it's low, the trail will be damp soil and low grass but when it's high tide, expect waist-level water that makes it necessary to prop your belongings up above your head. During high tide don't be alarmed to find people swimming in the bath-like marsh water...it's the bottom-dwelling crabs you should be concerned about.

Step 4 - Rejoice

The entire "hike" should take about 20-30 minutes, but it's an experience that leaves you feeling embarrassingly accomplished. The slenderness of the actual beach area means that people spread out and all tend to enjoy water views. If you feel like the adventure should continue head left to continue to the nude section.

For more on Provincetown, check out PAPERMAG.com/ptown


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